A progressive Jewish advocacy group said Tuesday that the U.S. should not send “another nickel” of military aid to Israel amid reports that the nation’s leaders intend to ask Biden administration officials for an additional $1 billion to bolster the Iron Dome missile defense system and purchase more precision-guided bombs.
Citing unnamed Israeli officials, Axios reported Tuesday that the military aid request “will be the focus” of Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s meeting later this week with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.
“Bad enough that we’re Israel’s cheerleader, this would make it clear we are also an accomplice and gun-reloader.”
—James Zogby, Arab American Institute
News of the planned request comes just days after Israel ceased its latest bombing campaign in the occupied Gaza Strip, an 11-day assault that killed more than 240 Palestinians, displaced tens of thousands, and further decimated the territory’s civilian infrastructure. Some of Israel’s attacks in Gaza during the most recent bombing—including its leveling of a building that housed media offices—were carried out with U.S.-made weaponry.
“Not another nickel. Not another dime,” Jewish Voice for Peace Action tweeted in response to Axios‘ reporting. “No.”
The $1 billion in aid would add to the $3.8 billion in military assistance that the U.S. sends Israel each year under a 10-year deal inked in 2016 by the Obama administration, in which U.S. President Joe Biden served as vice president.
Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of human rights group Democracy for the Arab World Now, wrote sardonically on Tuesday that “$3.8 billion in annual taxpayer gifts to enforce Israeli apartheid and rain terror on Palestinians just doesn’t cut it.”
“Every dime to Israel adds to America’s complicity,” Whitson added.
Arab American Institute founder James Zogby called Israel’s request “unconscionable.”
“It would be even worse if we give it,” Zogby tweeted. “Bad enough that we’re Israel’s cheerleader, this would make it clear we are also an accomplice and gun-reloader.”
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)—the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee—proclaimed that sending $1 billion more in military aid to Israel would be “a good investment for the American people” and vowed to “make sure in the Senate that they get the money.”
But Graham may run into resistance from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Last month, as Common Dreams reported, Sanders said that members of Congress must “take a hard look” at the nearly $4 billion in military aid the U.S. sends to Israel on an annual basis.
“It is illegal for U.S. aid to support human rights violations,” said the Vermont senator, who also introduced a resolution to block the Biden administration’s pending sale of $735 million in Boeing-made bombs to Israel.
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